[World Cup] The spark of goodwill outside the green field

Football is known as the world's largest sport and has a huge influence. In addition to fighting hard on the green field, players often exude a personality charm full of social care off the field.

In this Qatar World Cup, many teams expressed their social responsibility through actions before the start of the game.

Iran refuses to sing the national anthem, England gets down on one knee, each has his own intentions

In the first match of Group B of the World Cup on November 21, Iran vs England, two things caught the attention of public opinion before the game.

During the singing of the national anthem before the game, all the players of the Iranian team were silent and did not sing the national anthem; on the other side of the England team, several players knelt down on one knee. The "maverick" actions of the two sides are actually speaking for two different issues.

Iranian players did not sing the national anthem to express their support for the "hijab demonstrations" in Iran.

Source On September 16 this year, the Iranian morality police arrested a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, on charges of "improper" wearing a headscarf. Amini was later suspected to have died suddenly by the police. The news caused public outrage, and anti-government demonstrations broke out across Iran to fight for women's freedom and rights, resulting in more than 300 deaths so far.

Therefore, Iranian players expressed their support for the demonstrators by not singing the national anthem, not celebrating the victory of the ball game, etc.

11 Iran's national team refuses to sing the national anthem before the start of the World Cup (AFP)

England in the same field was no less. Before the game, many players knelt on one knee to express their opposition to racial discrimination.

The move stemmed from Martin Luther King Jr., the leader of the African-American human rights movement in the United States, and other civil rights demonstrators. In March 1965, they got down on one knee and prayed in Selma, Alabama, USA, in a nonviolent protest against discriminatory treatment of black Americans.

England players kneel before the start of the game against Iran to express their opposition to racism. (AFP)

In May 2020, Floyd, an African-American man, was kneeled to death by a white American police officer, exposing how deeply rooted racial discrimination is in the United States. Since then, English players have often knelt down on one knee before games to express complaints of racial discrimination. In particular, racial discrimination is not uncommon on the football field: England's African-American players Rashford, Sancho, and Sacca were all subjected to racial-related abuse after missing free throws; France's new striker Mbappe also revealed that he had withdrawn from being racially discriminated against on the pitch. Players hope to use the World Cup stage to voice anti-racism to fans around the world.

German cameras cover their mouths in protest against FIFA's anti-gay stance

The German team collectively covered their mouths during a group photo shoot before the game on November 23 to protest FIFA's decision to ban teams from wearing the "OneLove" colored armband that supports the gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community. Because Qatari law prohibits homosexuality, FIFA had earlier threatened to face sanctions if seven European teams, including Germany, wore the colored armband.

On November 23, German players collectively covered their mouths during a group photo before the World Cup. (AFP) More than 52,605 teams had planned to wear armbands "against discrimination against multiple gender groups", but just before the start of the game in England, FIFA decided that players should not wear slogans or images with political or religious connotations, otherwise they will receive yellow cards. Several European teams later issued statements saying that although they were ready to pay fines, they could not put players in a situation where they could be yellow-carded or even expelled. Therefore, the German players decided to cover their mouths collectively before the game to protest against FIFA's deprivation of freedom of speech.

Celebration after the goal, what does Messi want to say?

These acts of social responsibility did not start at this World Cup.

Argentina's Messi had a celebratory move after scoring: he used his index and middle fingers to draw two marks on his cheeks. This action stems from Messi's 2017 charity project for children with cancer. The Messi Foundation and the FC Barcelona Foundation jointly funded a local hospital in Barcelona to help with projects dedicated to childhood cancer research and treatment. Messi also shot a public service advertisement especially for this project.

Messi calls attention to celebrations for children with cancer. (Internet) Take off your shirt after scoring, show off your tattoo to show your stance

In the Ligue 1 game in February 2015, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player Zlatan Ibrahimovic took off his shirt to celebrate even if he received a yellow card after scoring. At that time, he used temporary tattoos to embroider the names of 50 refugees who were suffering from starvation to appeal to the public to pay attention to the refugees affected by famine.

Ibrahimovic shot a public service advertisement for the United Nations. (Screenshot of the United Nations public service video) Made a promise with the sick little fan, after scoring, "spread your wings and soar"  

England's Grealish is also a very warm-hearted player. He scored his first individual World Cup goal in the group game against Iran on the evening of November 21. After scoring, Grealish made a special celebration. He stretched his arms and swayed up and down, as if imitating a caterpillar. It turned out that before the World Cup in Qatar, Grealish received a special letter from Finley, a young Man City fan with cerebral palsy. In the letter, he mentioned that he hoped to have an older brother like Grealish.

Grealish not only wrote back to the little fan, but even went to meet him. Finley designed this celebration for him when they met. After the game, Grealish also had a video call with Finley and told him the news, and then Grealish posted a photo of the celebration on social media with the caption: "This action is dedicated to you, Finley."

On November 21, England played against Iran. After scoring, Glalish made a celebration with the young fans Finley. (AFP) Use football to stop the civil war in the motherland

Many players have called the public's attention to different events in different ways, and their sincerity and kindness are the power to inspire and move fans.

Another player who used football to stop a civil war in his home country is Drogba of Côte d'Ivoire.

player Didier Drogba. (Photo/Internet)

From 2002 to 2005, Côte d'Ivoire experienced a large-scale civil war, resulting in nearly 2,000 casualties.

On October 8, 2005, Drogba led the Côte d'Ivoire national team to defeat Sudan in the World Cup African qualifiers and won the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This is also the first time Côte d'Ivoire has qualified for the World Cup. When the reporter was ecstatic and came to the players' locker room for an interview, Drogba picked up the microphone and solemnly prayed for the Côte d'Ivoire to stop the civil war in the country, and led the team to kneel for national peace.

This interview was played repeatedly in the streets of Côte d'Ivoire, and the two sides of the civil war also began to move closer to the negotiating table, and finally signed a ceasefire agreement.

The charm of football is more than the sweat on the green field and the cheers after the goal. Outside the stadium, these sentimental and righteous athletes have used their influence to help many people who are struggling in difficulties. Their personality charm and the warmth they bring to society and human beings are also the reasons why football games can infect millions of people around the world.

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